Pretty in Pink

Assembled salad of seasonal veg & albacore tuna. (My photo.)

Here in the Twin Cities, we are still in the first phase of summer vegetables, where most veg are green, white or red-pink. Although, yellow zucchini are now out.

Albeit not the ‘riot’ of color of late August, these veggies still make for beautiful dishes. And the neat thing about white — cauliflower, kohlrabi, daikon & radish, potato — is that they turn a brilliant pink when marinated with beets or purple cabbage. Plus (I’m stretching it a little but) you’re benefiting from the purple veggies’ antioxidants that have literally rubbed off.

The fuschia rectangles in the center of this pretty salad are chopped kohlrabi marinated with mint vinaigrette & a bit of raw beet. Starting from top are sliced cauliflower, cooked beets, kohlrabi, thin slices of red onion and chunks of albacore tuna, on a bed of romaine & spinach. The pink vinaigrette was then drizzled on top.

Any vinaigrette will do. Just drop a bit of raw beet in the jar and a couple hours later, it’s pink. I like fresh mint vinaigrettes. Mint goes with everything and is an especially nice counterpoint to big bold tomatoey BBQ summer flavors. It’s avail, grows like a weed and is cheap — so use it!

Kohlrabi is from the cabbage family and therefore contains particularly beneficial antioxidants. Best when 3″ in diameter. Unfort, the purple ones are not purple inside!

About Kohlrabi:
A versatile white cruciferous vegetable that has made a recent comeback after decades. When I’m at the Farmers Markets doing demos, as I’ll do tomorrow, Sun July 15th at Kingfield FM (see previous posting), it’s the Minnesotans over the age of 50 who recognize this strange orb.

They say, “oh, we used to eat those straight out of the garden when we were kids!”, or “my dad loves them”. Those under age 50 say, “I wondered what those were? how do you eat it?”

Why? Because kohlrabi were never in grocery stores, the only place where many of us Minneapolitans encountered vegetables in their natural state.

So now we can get acquainted with this mild-mannered, kid-friendly vegetable. It’s part of the cabbage family and grows on top of the ground, with stalks and leaves above it, the reverse of broccoli. Apparently you can eat the leaves but I haven’t tried that yet (the ones available at markets are de-stemmed).

I say it’s like apples but not apple-flavored. Its texture is just like medium-crunchy apples while the taste is like very mild broccoli stalks, neither sweet nor bitter. Very neutral. Which lends itself to snacking as is (peeled) and being combined with sharper flavors.

Why then bother, you might say? Because kohlrabi is — surprise — good for you.  High in fiber, low in calories, and filling. Great munchy texture. Doesn’t get caught in your throat like raw carrots, either.

Nutrition Info: As a member of the cruciferous family, Kohlrabi is high in immune-boosting antioxidants. Cruciferous veg are often called “cancer-killers”.  For instance, kohlrabi packs 140 percent of your daily need of vitamin C into a one-cup, 40-calorie serving. In addition, kohlrabi provides more than 4 percent of your daily requirement of several B vitamins in a standard one-cup serving.

We all know Vitamin C is important, but, did you know, your body cannot store it, so you must replenish your body’s supply continually. And, iron absorption is improved in the presence of vitamin C.

This leads me to Beets + Kohlrabi combinations, besides the fact they’re pretty together. Beets contain about the same amount of Vitamin A as carrots, the main reason carrots are considered so nutritious. However, beets offer — drum roll, please — 6 TIMES MORE IRON than carrots. Yoo hoo women & girls!

Therefore, eating Beets & Kohlrabi together enhances absorption of iron so important to those of us of the female persuasion. So, Power up the Pink!

See my Recipe page for a very easy Minted Asian Kohlrabi Salad, which make great ‘refrigerator pickles’. By the way, this dressing has no oil.

Enjoy kohlrabi in any dish you would use cucumber, celery or apples:

  • obviously, chopped into any and all salads. Try tuna/egg salad.
  • raw snack sticks
  • grated raw, in salads, slaw, or on top of noodle soups like Japanese radish.
  • pickled with ginger or dill
  • stir-frys
  • steamed with butter. Herb butter. Mmmm.
  • roasted
  • stews and soups

    Baked kohlrabi chips! Shredded kohlrabi in muffins!  I’m sure you can think of fun variations, too.

 

 

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